1980s. The name then came to apply to the successful line of robots manufactured by the company. The initial Omnibot was announced with expectations of restoring popular interest in robots, at a time when it was becoming obvious that robots with advanced AI such as R2-D2 were still a long way away. A more advanced version of the Omnibot was called the Omnibot 2000 and did not have a plastic bubble over its head. With the success of the Omnibots, the Omnibot range quickly expanded. After the North American video game crash of 1983 and its debilitating effect on the entire nascent home electronics industry, the Omnibot faded away but it was revived in the early 2000s. The latest version of the Omnibot is the i-SOBOT.
Both the Omnibot and the more advanced Omnibot 2000 had a cassette tape player built into the chest area of the robot, which slid out like a drawer to reveal the cassette and could record and play back sequences of commands, as well as regular audio recordings. The built in digital clock with timers and alarms allowed the playback of movement recordings at specified times, such as moving into the bedroom in the morning. Both robots were able to broadcast speech from the remote control handset through a speaker on the robot, and both were shipped with a cardboard "home" base which was suggested to be taped to the floor and used as a reference point for programming.
Both Omnibot and the Omnibot 2000 could carry light objects. The Omnibot carried a specially made tray which slotted into its claws, and the Omnibot 2000 had a tray which slotted into its motorised "accessory panel", allowing the tray to revolve cups and glasses into the reach of the arm.
The Omnibot 2000 was 25 inches tall, powered by a 6-volt lead–acid battery and two AA batteries. Its right arm was controllable. The user could control its shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers, the left arm being a poseable "dummy".
Unfortunately, losing the remote control unit for an Omnibot meant that the robot was virtually useless outside of the clock and cassette deck based functions.
Two lesser known robots in the Omnibot range were the Omnibot OOM and the Omniwagon. The Omnibot OOM was shaped like a standard Omnibot except with the addition of a spherical head, its remote controller including a basic form of voice-control. The Omniwagon was merely a remote controlled drive unit and wheels from an omnibot with a flat surface on top to carry objects.